Drummers and brass can better judge the timing of visual stimuli than members of the Color Guard, as evidenced by a naturalistic study by the world-class Drum Corps Bluecoats in eNeuro . This counterintuitive finding extends previous research demonstrating superior sensory learning and memory through cross-training of the audiovisual and visual systems of the brain.
In a five-week intensive spring training program, Nestor Matthews and colleagues compared the skills of young adults Bluecoat Percussionists, brass, and color guards to determine the sequence of moving stimuli mimicking the color guard's visual displays. This study design allowed researchers to examine the effects of musical and visual training on visual timing, controlling their experience and knowledge.
The results show that percussionists do the job more accurately and faster than brass players who perform better. Along with findings from neuroimaging and brain stimulation research, this pattern suggests that musical training forms cortical areas responsible for synchronizing rhythm and behavior.